Sunday, February 25, 2007

Throwing Away at®

In the Exchange Game I talked about exchange or swap sites as one of the tools a Packrat should include in his or her Decluttering Arsenal. In Something for the Bibliophile I discussed the Bookins site, which is specifically for the exchange of books (hard cover, paperback) and audio books. This week I would like to tell you about®, an exchange site where all sorts of items can be posted for exchange. They describe themselves as "The Internet's Landfill Alternative".

I stumbled across this site in the course of searching for, what else? Recycling information! Unfortunately, I initially forgot to bookmark the site! Also, of the many sites I'd viewed that morning, I couldn't remember where I'd specifically seen the link to Throwplace. Adding even further insult to injury, I hadn't even correctly remembered the name of the site. I kept thinking it was "Drop Place" or something like that. As you can see I was batting a thousand. How-some-ever, I am nothing if not persistent. Oddly enough, for some reason I was able to remember one of the sites they had listed as having written about them, and was eventually able to get the URL in this manner. Needless to say I bookmarked the site immediately this time!

Why did I go through so much trouble to find my way back to this particular site? Well during my initial visit, I just really and immediately liked the site's look and feel. I wanted to poke around it some more. When I did get back to it, I found the site was easy to navigate and getting set-up was equally simple. As you know simplicity is one of my main criteria for giving something the thumbs up, and as I've also said, this quality is particularly important in the war against clutter.

It's free to set up a basic account, which will allow users to list or "throw" items in any of the following four categories:

  • US Charities
  • International Charities
  • Business/Individuals
  • Up-For-Grabs

    However, only premium users can "take" from all four of those categories. Regular users are just allowed to "take" from the "Up-For-Grabs" section. But, since our main goal is to get rid of rather than acquire things, this should suit most purposes just fine. I set up an account back in October and since then have been able to dispose of about 27 out of 30 or so of the items that I've listed. Many of these items have included books, which for whatever reason, could not be listed on Bookins or were not requested after listing there.

    Once someone requests one of your listed items, you will be sent an email with a link to the request. You will then need to sign in to obtain additional information regarding the request. After logging in, if there are multiple requests for the item in question, you can select the one you want and accept their request. Once you have accepted a request that "throw" is removed from the browse list of available items. An email is then sent to your chosen recipient advising them of your acceptance. Each of you will then receive an email containing each other's email address so that you may contact each other to complete the arrangements for the exchange. If for whatever reason, a "throw" falls through, relisting the item is simple by using the appropriate links in the item's listing. However, see their FAQ and Overview pages for all the ins and outs.

    Once your account is set up, listing and keeping track of your "throws" is a snap, which are organized on your account in separate sections based on whether an item has been accepted (Older Throws) or not (Active Throws). Other helpful features include links to the US Postal and UPS sites for calculating shipping costs, along with a few additional tips related to getting your item to its intended recipient. Of additional and potential interest are various green or environmental resources at the site, such as

  • a directory of socially responsible vendors, retailers and suppliers
  • other green or eco-friendly related sites
  • participating US 501(c)(3) verified charities as well as International charities (not verified) or US charities who lack 501(c)(3) status charities
  • a classified ads section

    However, these extras DO NOT get in the way of, what for me anyway, is my main goal in using the site: to facilitate the disposal of unwanted items!

    In closing, I would like to offer one more final good word about Throwplace. I have found their Customer Service to be very friendly and helpful in resolving the few problems I have encountered, thus far. One particular issue involved my ISP, who on two separate occasions tagged their automated notification emails as spam and blocked them. However in distinct contrast to my ISP, whose basic stance is to require their paying customer's to chase around the necessary documentation before they will remove such blocks, all the while making you feel like some common bulk spammer, Throwplace worked cooperatively with me to get the problem resolved. This only served to enhance my overall positive attitude towards them and I would highly recommend at least checking them out.

    So then! The twig hugger drill is as follows:

    1. Identify that quaint little gewgaw quietly collecting dust in some corner of your home
    2. Sign up for a free Throwplace account and list that delightful trinket using Throwplace's simple form
    3. Wait for that lucky someone to espy your item in the browse list and to quickly request it before someone else does!
    4. Accept their request lickety split and email the lucky recipient to make whatever final arrangements
    5. Then, and only then Gather this precious knickknack and prepare it for shipping
    6. Remove said item from your home and send it off to its new one


  • 1 comment:

    pataplan said...

    Very easy reading. You make recycling sound so effortless. Now if only I had a chance to actually go to the post office on occasion I might be able to ditch my old ca. 1981 Rubik's cube with three of the little faces missing. Plus other stuff I may have acquired since then. :P